Monthly Archives: January 2013

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

28 January 2013

Reflecting on Luke 1:1-4; 4: 14-21

Of all the fascinating subjects—the saints,  scripture, social justice— that are part of the lives of the 1 billion Catholics on the globe, the one I find the most compelling is the brilliant 1969 lectionary.

If you haven’t sat with some kind of publication that has the Sunday scriptures—week after week for a year or two at least– you are missing the best-kept secret of all the reforms since the Council.

There’s a method to why we read what we read when we read it, and it’s breathtaking.  The first reading is chosen, out of all the scriptures in the entire Old Testament, to match the Gospel reading.  And the Responsorial Psalm is chosen, out of all 150 psalms, to be the soft light that illumines the connection between those two.

They rhyme, kind of.  They harmonize.  Today’s section from Luke describes the process perfectly.   Jesus takes his turn as lector in the synagogue in Nazareth.  Isaiah 61 is the Torah portion (actually the “Half Torah”, since it’s from a prophet and not from the first five books) this particular day, describing the Spirit’s anointing on the one who does justice.  Jesus closes the scroll and says, “That’s me.  Isaiah is talking about me.”

That’s how the lectionary is shaped.  The first reading is the overture, the gospel the opera.

It all started on that ancient day when Ezra the scribe, circa 450BC, read the earliest written version of The Books of Moses.  Thousands of people stood, silently aware that the Divine Presence was among them as the Word was proclaimed.

We stand still, all these years later, when the gospel is proclaimed, in communion with all the Catholic men, women and children old enough to understand.

Have you ever been fascinated with the way the readings connected on a particular Sunday?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle C

20 January 2013

Reflecting on John 2: 1-11

African Christian Art

Right off the bat, at the very beginning of his public ministry, Jesus sets out transforming us.  The first “sign” that John’s gospel gives us is that puny, weak bit of wine that runs out so quickly at the wedding at Cana.  Watch for the transformation:

Somehow, there are SIX STONE JARS sitting outside the tiny house!  This is funny, and it’s an inside joke for the Jewish-Christian readers of the first century.  Hmm.  Where else have we seen such huge jars?  Right at the entrance to the Temple, where men did ritual washings in order to make themselves pure so they could enter. Now those huge jars have been transplanted from the Temple all the way up to the little house where the marriage party is in full swing.

A similar joke might be if someone said, “We went to some Catholic friends’ home for dinner, and the stained glass windows from the Sistine Chapel were in their living room!”  It’s John’s way of saying, “Watch for the transformation that Jesus will perform.”

His mother gives directions to the stewards, and Jesus gives directions to the created world (which he created), and the water is transformed into the best wine of the party.

And of course there are countless transformations to come: the lonely Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well and becomes the premiere disciple in her village; the man born blind who is given sight so that we can see how blind we are; the dead Lazarus whose stone is rolled away.

But we don’t have to go far from the scriptures to see the best transformations, the ones that are endlessly happening in we who try and fail and try again to do whatever he tells us.

How do you try to do whatever he tells you in your life?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

The Baptism of the Lord – Cycle C

13 January 2013

Reflecting on Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22

Happy New Year, everyone!

The other day my husband and I were walking our dog Gracie home from the park.  We passed several houses in the neighborhood, then for some reason I remembered that our friends live in the one we had just passed.  Looking back, I said to Ben, “there’s the Denny’s house”.  And there, waving frantically in the window, mouthing “Happy New Year,” were their darling grandchildren.

We waved and smiled and walked on, and wondered at the unusual coincidence that, without seeing them in the window and without hearing them calling to us, we turned in their direction in time to see their warm greeting.

At Jesus’ baptism, the heavens opened, the voice of the Father spoke, and the Holy Spirit actually appeared in bodily form as a dove.  But Luke doesn’t tell us who saw the dove, or who heard the voice. It happened, we know.  But who besides Jesus (and the evangelist, who is Spirit-inspired) had eyes to see or ears to hear?

If we could train our eyes and ears, I’ll bet we too would see the heavens open, and hear the voice from heaven speak.  This appearance of the Trinity—the Son coming out of the water, the Spirit resting as a dove, the Father speaking from heaven—was not a one-time event.  Christ is always with us in our dyings and risings, the Spirit is always pointing us to the ways of peace, and the Father is always speaking to us.

Or, to put it another way, love and comfort and wisdom are constantly being waved at us through soundless windows.  Take a moment to look back and notice.

What “God moment” have you had this week?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Solemnity of the Epiphany – Cycle C

5 January 2013

Reflecting on Is. 60: 1-6

On this gorgeous Christmas-tide feast day that remembers the manifestation of Christ to all the nations, I wonder if we could take a minute to let our imaginations wander in a direction which we may not have allowed ourselves for many years.  Let your heart indulge itself in this direction:

What would it be like if the United States of America were like the Star of Bethlehem?  What if our country radiated so much light, so much warmth, so much justice, so much compassion, so much strength of character that the glory of the Lord shone upon us?

What if all the nations walked by our light?  What if all the people of the world, who share the same sun and moon, (and I’m even imagining the wretched, starving masses in North Korea, who have no access to the outside world) observed such radiant wisdom in us that it literally lit up the sky and pointed all peoples in the direction of peace?

What if we, the city set on the hill, the world’s model of all possible ethnic groups living together, would be so changed by the horrors of violence against children in this country that we all put every other agenda aside until every child (and yes, the parents and siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends of every child) was safe tonight?

The divine wisdom it would require is staggering, but we are the nation that mightily helped save the world just 70 years ago.  We saved the world from the Nazis.  Can we can save ourselves too?

Of course we can. Oh Star of Wonder, guide us to thy Perfect Light.

In what ways are you resolved to radiate only Light this year?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015